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I am not entitled to argue from these pas fages, that Chrift actually did foretel these events, and that they did accordingly come to pass, because that would be at once to affume the truth of the religion; but I am entitled to contend, that one fide or other of the following disjunction is true; either that the evangelifts have delivered what Chrift really spoke, and that the event corresponded with the prediction; or that they put the prediction into Chrift's mouth, be. cause, at the time of writing the history, the event had turned out fo to be: for the only two remaining fuppofitions appear in the highest degree incredible, which are, either that Christ filled the minds of his followers with fears and apprehenfions, without any reafon or authority for what he said, and contrary to the truth of the cafe; or that, although Christ had never foretold any fuch thing, and the event would have contradicted him if he had, yet hiftorians who lived in the age when the event was known, falsely as well as officiously, ascribed these words to him.

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3. Thirdly,

3. Thirdly, these books abound with exhortations to patience, and with topics of comfort under distress.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Chrift? Shall tribulation, or diftrefs, or perfecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or fword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that : loved us*.".

"We are troubled on every fide, yet not diftreffed; we are perplexed, but not in defpair; perfecuted, but not forfaken; cast down, but not deftroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jefus, that the life alfo of Jefus might be made manifest in our body-knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jefus shall raise us up alfo by Jefus, and fhall prefent us with you For which cause we faint not; but, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our

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light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory*."

"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of fuffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure, Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have feen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy +."

"Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly whilst ye were made a gazing-flock both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were fo ufed; for ye had compaffion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring fub


2 Cor. iv. 8, 9, 10. 14. 16, 17.
James v. 10, II.


ftance. Caft not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompenfe of reward; for ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise *."

"So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your perfecutions and tribulations that ye endure. Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be accounted worthy of the kingdom for which ye alfo fuffer t."

"We rejoice in hope of the glory of God; and not only fo, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope ‡."

Beloved, think it not ftrange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though fome ftrange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inafmuch as ye are

*Heb. x. 32—36.. † 2 Theff. i. 1—5. Rom. v. 3, 4


partakers of Chrift's fufferings. Wherefore let them that fuffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their fouls to him in well doing as unto a faithful Creator*."

What could all these texts mean, if there was nothing in the circumftances of the times which required patience, which called for the exercise of conftancy and resolution? or will it be pretended that these exhortations (which, let it be observed, come not from one author, but from many) were put in, merely to induce a belief in after-ages, that the firft Chriftanis were expofed to dangers which they were not exposed to, or underwent fufferings which they did not undergo? If these books belong to the age to which they lay claim, and in which age, whether genuine or fpurious, they certainly did appear, this fuppofition cannot be maintained for a moment; because I think it impoffible to believe, that paffages, which must

1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. 19.

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